Bella Vita offers a menu of authentic Italian entrees, traditional weekend brunch, and an expansive, international wine list set amid an inviting interior spotted with low-hanging lights and sleek marble accents. Once the green-napkin flag has been waved, diners are free to tear around the entree track, crashing into Arista alla Milanese, featuring braised pork shoulder stewed in white wine and sage, topped with a sausage-and-bacon sauce, and served snuggled with potatoes ($18). Smoked stacks of salmon fettuccini alfredo will impress even the most critical mermaid dates ($19), as will antipasti dishes such as the olive-oiled caprese ($10) and the gamberi rossi, featuring sautéed prawns with shallots and fresh tomatoes in a white-wine sauce ($12).
Hailing from the Italian island of Sardinia, Fabrizio Loi graduated with honors from Italy's national culinary college. He's put that experience to good use as the owner and head chef at Ristorante Paradiso. There, Fabrizio orchestrates a menu of classic Italian dishes. But instead of strictly adhering to traditional recipes or reading the instructions embedded into every lasagna noodle, Fabrizio puts his own spin on things. Diners reap the benefits of Fabrizio's culinary creativity when they sit down for gourmet pizzas at lunch, or dinner dishes such as cannelloni gratinati—pasta crepes stuffed with ground veal, chicken, and mozzarella and enhanced with a tomato and besciamelle sauce.
The handmade, fresh pizzas and specialty pies at Bella Kitchen are constructed in the classic New York style, which feature foldy-thin crusts, humorously neurotic toppings, and a gruff exterior that hides the heart of a lonely romantic. Signature dough disc selections such as the chicken garlic (with green pepper, tomato, green olive and onion, $9.95—$19.95) or the herbivore-happifying roasted veggie pie (with artichoke, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers, and eggplant, $9.95–$19.95) are sure to please pizza-craving poets. The indecisive, meanwhile, can get pretty much everything atop a super special ($10.95–$19.95). To keep a hand open for impromptu swashbuckling, opt for portable pocket pizza with the spinach and feta calzone ($8.95). Bella Kitchen also sells pastas, subs, and salads.
Garlic Jim's menu was handcrafted with nothing more than a dream and an incredible reserve of pizza-making expertise. Open an order with some gourmet chicken wings, available in barbecue, garlic, and hot, before moving on to pizza territory. Put an end to eating Legos by piecing together a custom pie. Choose from the hand-thrown thick, garlic thin, or gluten-free crusts, slathered in one of seven sauces (from classic red to zesty chipotle pesto), and then slap on any of 15 standard and 11 gourmet toppings (14-inch large pizzas start at $11.99, extra-large $14.99; each additional topping for a large is $1.50). To achieve customization without the stress of having to choose, turn to one of the pre-determined specialties. Meat-maul hunger with the Hercules (salami, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, beef, spicy Italian sausage, and bacon; $18.99 for large, $21.99 for extra-large), or discover the secret of pizza-temperature fusion in your head with Jim's bacon-cheeseburger pizza (beef, bacon, red onions, tomatoes, mozzarella, and cheddar; $18.99 for large, $21.99 for extra-large).